Southern Miss dropped a non-conference contest to South Alabama on Tuesday evening by a score of 15-6. Despite a hot start offensively, the night became one that most fans will likely try to forget. However, Coach Scott Berry hopes his players remember every single minute.
“I want them to remember this. These aren’t the things we want to be known for,” Berry said. “We embarrassed ourselves. With the way we played defense, the way we competed, it was a very, very disappointing loss.”
The Golden Eagles grabbed a big lead early with a grand slam by Bryant Bowen, his fourth home run of the season and first career grand slam. Unfortunately, few home team highlights followed thereafter.
The Jaguars slowly crept back into the game, scoring five runs in three innings to draw even. The comeback started around the time Southern Miss pitcher Ryan Och, who was making his first start of the season on the mound, was forced to leave the game with an injury. Och struck out three of eight batters faced and allowed two hits with no runs.
“He’s had a little pinched nerve problem in his neck, and it resurfaced tonight,” Berry said. “We weren’t going to let him go the whole game or anything, you know. We needed him for this weekend. But now I don’t know if he’ll be ready this weekend.”
From there, Southern Miss’ defensive issues—both pitching and fielding—seemed to escalate until the game got out of hand. The Golden Eagles surrendered five runs on just two hits over a three-inning stretch due to walks and fielding errors. Eleven Jaguars were walked in the contest, which surpassed Saturday’s eight walks as the new season high, and the Golden Eagles also committed a season-high total of six errors. All of this led to South Alabama scoring runs in each of the last six innings of play.
The loss snapped an eight-game home winning streak for Southern Miss, along with a five-game losing streak for its opponent. Though Berry said he wants his team to remember the feeling, he also talked about preparing for the team’s next series.
“We need to come back tomorrow and have the best practice we’ve ever had,” said Berry. “And then we’ve got to get ready for a tough Marshall team that is playing really well.”